Exploring the 'Shopping Imaginary": The Dreamworld of Women's Magazines

Lorna M.R. Stevens, Pauline Maclaran

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    303 Downloads (Pure)


    This study focuses on the consumer imagination and, more specifically, on the imaginary shopping spaces that women's magazines create. It addresses the anticipatory, imaginary and experiential consumption which this medium invites. The article explores how women's magazines function as 'dreamworlds' of shopping; and how contemporary readers consume these imaginary shopping spaces. The study suggests that women's magazines, like department stores, are spaces which facilitate and celebrate just looking and browsing, and, above all, they are shopping spaces that address the power of the imagination within them.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)282-292
    JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jul 2005

    Bibliographical note

    Reference text: Andrews, M. and Talbot, M. M. (2000) All the World and Her Husband: Women in Twentieth-Century Consumer Culture, Cassell, London, UK.
    Ang, I. (1996) Living Room Wars: Rethinking Media Audiences for a Postmodern World, Routledge, London, UK.
    CrossRefAng, I. and Hermes, J. (1997) ‘Gender and/in media consumption’, in Curran, J. and Gurevitch, M. (eds) Mass Media & Society, Arnold, London, UK, 325–347.
    Ballaster, R., Beetham, M., Frazer, E. and Hebron, S. (1991) Women's Worlds: Ideology, Femininity and the Woman's Magazine, Macmillan Education Ltd, Basingstoke, UK.
    Beetham, M. (1996) A Magazine of Their Own? Domesticity and Desire in the Women's Magazine, 1800–1914, Routledge, London, UK.
    Belk, R. W. (1996) ‘On aura, illusion, escape and hope in apocalyptic consumption: The apotheosis of Las Vegas’, in Brown, S., Bell, J. and Carson, D. J. (eds) Marketing Apocalypse: Eschatology, Escapology and the Illusion of the End, Routledge, London, UK, 87–110.
    Belk, R. W. (2001) ‘Specialty magazines and flights of fancy: Feeding the desire to desire’, European Advances in Consumer Research, 5, 197–202.
    Belk, R. W., Wallendorf, M. and Sherry, J. F. Jr (1989) ‘The sacred and the profane in consumer behavior: Theodicy on the odyssey’, Journal of Consumer Research, 16, June, 1–38.
    CrossRef,Web of Science® Times Cited: 308Bellenger, D. N. and Korgaonkar, P. K. (1980) ‘Profiling the recreational shopper’, Journal of Retailing, 56(3), 77–92.
    Web of Science® Times Cited: 94Bloch, P. H., Ridgeway, N. M. and Sherrell, D. L. (1989) ‘Extending the concept of shopping: An investigation of browsing activity’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 17(1), 13–21.
    CrossRefBowlby, R. (1985) Just Looking: Consumer Culture in Dreiser, Gissing & Zola, Methuen, New York, NY.
    Braithwaite, B. (1995) Women's Magazines: The First 300 Years, Peter Owen Publishers, London, UK.
    Campbell, C. (1997) ‘Shopping, pleasure & the sex war’, in Campbell, C. and Falk, P. (eds) The Shopping Experience, Sage Publications, London, UK, 166–176.
    Damon-Moore, H. (1994) Magazines for the Millions: Gender and Commerce in the ‘Ladies Home Journal’ and the ‘Saturday Evening Post’ 1880–1910, State University of New York Press, New York, NY.
    Eccles, S. and Woodruffe-Burton, H. (2000) ‘Off to the shops: Why do we really go shopping?’, in Catterall, M., Maclaran, P. and Stevens, L. (eds) Marketing and Feminism: Current Issues and Research, Routledge, London, UK, 183–201.
    Ferguson, M. (1983) Forever Feminine: Women's Magazines and the Cult of Femininity, Heinemann Educational Books Ltd, London, UK.
    Ford, J. B., LaTour, M. S. and Lundstrom, W. J. (1991) ‘Contemporary women's evaluation of female role portrayals in advertising’, Journal of Consumer Marketing, 8(1), Winter, 15–27.
    CrossRefGarvey, E. G. (1996) The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture, 1880s to 1910s, Oxford University Press, New York, NY.
    Gauntlett, D. (2002) Media, Gender and Identity: An Introduction, Routledge, London, UK.
    CrossRefHermes, J. (1995) Reading Women's Magazines, Polity Press, Cambridge, UK.
    Jansen-Verbeke, M. (1987) ‘Women, shopping and leisure’, Leisure Studies, 6(1), 71–86.
    CrossRefKates, S. and Shaw-Garlock, G. (1999) ‘The ever entangling web: A study of ideologies and discourses in advertising to women’, Journal of Advertising, 32(1), 33–49.
    McCracken, G. (1988) Culture and Consumption: New Approaches to the Symbolic Character of Consumption, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN.
    McCracken, E. (1993) Decoding Women's Magazines: From Mademoiselle to Ms, The Macmillan Press Ltd, Basingstoke, UK.
    McRobbie, A. (1994) Postmodernism and Popular Culture, Routledge, London, UK.
    CrossRefMoore, S. (1986) ‘Permitted pleasures’, Women's Review, (10), 9–10.
    PubMed,CASMoore, S. (1988) ‘Here's looking at you kid’, in Gamman, L. and Marshment, M. (eds) The Female Gaze: Women as Viewers of Popular Culture, Women's Press, London, UK, 44–59.
    Nava, M. (1997) ‘Women, the city and the department store’, in Falk, P. and Campbell, C. (eds) The Shopping Experience, Sage, London, UK, 56–91.
    O'Donohoe, S. (2000) ‘Women and advertising: Reading the relationship’, in Catterall, M., Maclaran, P. and Stevens, L. (eds) Marketing and Feminism: Current Issues and Research, Routledge, London, UK, 75–93.
    Radner, H. (1995) Shopping Around: Feminine Culture and the Pursuit of Pleasure, Routledge, New York, NY.
    Radway, J. A. (1987) Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Feminism, Verso, London, UK.
    Scanlon, J. (1995) Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies Home Journal, Gender, and the Promises of Consumer Culture, Routledge, New York, NY.
    Scott, L. (1994) ‘The bridge from text to mind: Adapting reader-response theory to consumer research’, Journal of Consumer Research, 21, December, 461–480.
    CrossRef,Web of Science® Times Cited: 101Solomon, M. R. (1988) ‘Mapping product constellations: A social categorisation approach to symbolic consumption’, Psychology & Marketing, 5(3), 233–258.
    Stern, B. B. (1989) ‘Literary criticism and consumer research: Overview and illustrative analysis’, Journal of Consumer Research, 16, December, 322–344.
    CrossRef,Web of Science® Times Cited: 70Stevens, L., Maclaran, P. and Brown, S. (2001) ‘The joys of text: Women's experiential consumption of magazines’, European Advances in Consumer Research, 5, 169–173.
    Web of Science® Times Cited: 11Thompson, C. J. (1996) ‘Caring consumers: Gendered consumption meanings and the juggling lifestyle’, Journal of Consumer Research, 22, March, 388–407.
    CrossRef,Web of Science® Times Cited: 73Williams, R. H. (1982) Dream Worlds: Mass Consumption in Late Nineteenth-century France, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
    Wilson, E. (1992) ‘The invisible flaneur’, New Left Review, 191, January/February, 90–110.
    Winship, J. (1987) Inside Women's Magazines, Pandora Press, London, UK.
    Wolf, N. (1991) The Beauty Myth, Vintage Books, London, UK.
    Woodruffe, H. R. (1997) ‘Compensatory consumption: Why women go shopping when they're fed up and other stories’, Marketing Intelligence and Planning, 15(7), 325–334.


    Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring the 'Shopping Imaginary": The Dreamworld of Women's Magazines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this